Monday, December 31

I won't miss you, 2012

Sure, you were the year I turned 30 - I have yet to decide whether this is good or bad!

And I got promoted and got tenureable. And had many professional accomplishments. And realized that all my students are awesome, even those that, well, aren't. And got Suzie. And went to New Zealand. And got the almost certainty that maybe I won't have to leave these new found friends like I had to leave my old ones. And Dodo, Jensen, Chloe and Uncle Pan visited, among others. And I sent a number of V5s. And I sent Iliad, which is probably the hardest v4 ever:

But you were also the year where I overworked myself and nearly burned out. And the motherfucker left us in the blue mountains. And a guy I went to school with died of leukemia. And a colleague got leukemia. And a friend's wife died of breast cancer. And my paternal grandmother died. Alone, in her flat. And my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. And I became the divorce kid. And my friend is grieving still. And I cannot help from so far away. And my running partner got injured. Again. And I got a pulley injury. And six foot got cancelled. And the weather in New Zealand sucked, and as such I didn't climb Mount Cook. And this made me feel like a failure. And because of all this mountaineering, I became unfit for climbing. And I didn't send Master Bates. And for some reason I decided to wear a white dress tonight. And there's an accident waiting to happen right under my nose.

I won't miss you, 2012 - but I don't want to jinx 2013 either. So, 2013, no pressure, but the standard is pretty low, so surprise me!

Sunday, December 30

Christmas at the Grampians

... or, Force No Fortunate Feeling

On a side note, "Force no fortunate feeling" is what one would say to Jensen when he was stuffing his face. Which he did. Which we all did actually. That, and climb a lot. And send a lot of problems (Jensen and Chloe). And fail on a lot of problems (me).

To sum it up, I could just say that it was so cold (in the morning) and so hot (in the afternoon), and I was soooooo weak and the drive was soo long and then we were back in Adelaide.

To make it longer, I could say that Jensen's and Chloe's trip to Adelaide started with picking of cherries, right before we were to leave for the Grampians. My sekret plan was to take the cherries with us. Which they did, with their share, but I didn't with mine. Luckily, J. and C. are not only children, and as such they shared their cherries with me!

The drive was long, but it was good for me in that I realized that I can drive all the way there by myself! We started the first day superiorly psyched. The weather was also good, a balmy 25 degrees. The "balmy" turned into fucking cold, which led me to wear my down vest at some point. Down vest! In the summer!

Jensen flashed a number of V7s, which was great because it meant that I was sort of trying starts on them. Progress!

 At some point, we realized that we needed something long to clean handholds, so J. constructed the Spear of Destiny, pictured here in action:

Our Christmas dinner was pre-cooked lasagna and pre-baked sour cherry pies! Most yum.

And then the heat started and the psyche started to go slowly downhill. I tried 253 times on Master Bates, and have yet to finish it. Chloe finished it very quickly - very inspiring, I wanna be strong again woo hoo! Here we are contemplating Minus (V4), at Campgrounds.

At Campground I also found my new travel companion, Ray the raisin hippo. The similarities between us are too many to mention, so I will leave them for now.

On our third day we went to Kindergarten, which was guaranteed to be in the shade. By this time, the temperature was predicted to go in the 30s, but in the Kindergarten cave it was quite cool, which led me at some point to wear my pyjama top AND my down vest.

Here's the route that nearly fucked my left knee. The sit-in on the left heel is monstrous, at least for somebody as unfit as me*. 

For variety, we tried a right-heel hook route and C. tried a V7. Here's C. showing me how it's done:

Here's me pondering the right heel hook route. Starts on the right, finishes on the left side of the obvious rail (<- book="book" guide="guide" i="i" like="like" m="m" p="p" sound="sound" starting="starting" the="the" to="to">

 J. in the meantime was playing on a V8. We tried the start of that, and got a quarter up the way, woo hoo! Surely that counts as a V2!

On day four we met D. His psyche would have been enough probably to lift one of us up, but not the three of us at the same time! 

And then we drove back and slept for two days and ate like pigs.  We each cooked a dish. Chloe: Pad Thai, myself: Tom Yam soup and Mango sticky rice, Jensen: Banana loaf. All dishes had varying degrees of success from awesome to unbelievable, and all were super tasty despite their looks. Here's Chloe's Pad Thai (before assembly)

 *Before we get into that, two monts of mountaineering and traveling around the world DOES NOT make one grampians fit. Bummer.

Friday, December 21


I guess I'm not young anymore - heh. Let's start again. I guess I'm not young anymore if all this world hopping leaves me soooo tired. Adelaide to Wanaka to Queenstown to Berlin to Bucharest to Berlin to Hamburg to Berlin to Adelaide and all I want to do right now is sleep and cuddle with the cat for three weeks. 

Saturday, December 15

Surely there must be laws for this

... Or maybe not. I have registered again for Six Foot Track Marathon. This year I think they will not be cancelled, and as such I will not have any excuse not to run. Sometimes I wonder why I do this to myself. The answer is that I probably would not run otherwise. Which will then make fatt and therefore unable to climb.

Tuesday, December 11

One picture Tuesday

Oh the irony... The only good view of mount cook is from the plane, when leaving... Sigh.

Saturday, December 8

It's ALL in the name

Today I led an 18 on traditional gear, or trad for short. I was never more scared in my life (maybe on the Matterhorn?) but my belayer and trad eye-opener was very patient and walked me through everything. The route was pumpy and the fact that I was trying to place as much gear as possible for her to check did not help. Anyway, there was this big cam I had aptly called "the motherfucker".

I had put in on my left side, with the other smaller cams on my right side. Anyway, I reach this spot where I'm super pumped and shaky, and super-duper scared. My feet and hands are not shaking yet but I am starting to loose grip on my right hand. It is an overhung crack that requires a bit of laybacking, and, as this is Wanaka, there are no jugs, only bigger crimps and some ledges. The crack in front of me is this big big void and I try to place EVERYTHING either below or above it. I am getting more pumped with every little thing that I try to place. Nothing matches and I am starting to think that maybe it does not matter: if nothing but the third bomb-proof one holds, I have a good chance of not hitting the ground.  Lydia is saying softly and repeatedly: "The moterfucker is on your left side". "The motherfucker is on your left side". "The motherfucker is on your left side". Eventually I hear her through a haze and wonder: "What motherfucker?" (I am thinking of you, Rose Petals!)

"Oh, THAT motherfucker!" I quickly grab it and place it poorly, but enough to proceed, place a better one, rest and adjust. Whew. I have found another scary dimension of climbing: trad climbing!!

Thursday, December 6

Bugger all

Learnt this expression from one of my students this year. To cut a very long story short, no summit.

Longer story. Shitty weather for Mount Cook with high avalanche warnings for the only good weather day in the trip.
Decided to change to Mt. Aspiring and gamble on that good weather day. Flew in at Bevan Col and walked to Colin Todd hut. Summit attempt started out quite good but then backed out when reached the ridge because of 80 km/h winds and a complete whiteout.

Came back to Colin Todd and walked out to French Ridge Hut in a complete whiteout -> glacier travel in whiteout FTW!  (GPS for the win!) And then from French Ridge to Wanaka with some river crossings etc thrown in the mix. I froze and soaked in the same day.

I am quite depressed however I am having a blast with my guide! She is 51 (FIFTY ONE!), insanely fit and is the first female to summit everest without o2 (in 1988!!!) ( There might be a good day on Saturday and we might do the double cone - single cone traverse in the remarkables (alpine 2+) or we might not.

Sigh. 2012 has not been a good year sportswise. Did not climb mount cook, did not finish a sub 4 marathon, did not finish six foot track (because i didn't run it ... ).  It was a good year careerwise, which is hinting at maybe that I can't give 110% to work and 110% to climbing? And that probably 100% to work and 120% to climbing will not work as well? At least the consolation is that Lydia says that I'm strong so there might be a chance that I might be.

Gotta go and change my clothes. Still soaked. Pictures of whiteout attached. Team is 15 m in front. Sigh. I don't know whether the tears are frustration tears as you can't (apparently!) change the weather or they're tiredness tears.